Definition of penology in English:

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Pronunciation: /piːˈnɒlədʒi/


[mass noun]
The study of the punishment of crime and of prison management.
Example sentences
  • He contributed ideas on education, political economy, psychology, penology, law, history, and political theory, which he set out in five books and over 1,000 essays.
  • With penology and prisons came the idea of rehabilitation, again somewhat inappropriate given the difference in civilian and military perceptions of undesirable character traits.
  • ‘The history of penology,’ he went on, ‘is the saddest chapter in the history of civilization.’



Pronunciation: /piːnəˈlɒdʒɪk(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • That decision made clear courts would defer to prison administrators so long as they were acting out of legitimate penological interests.
  • Although written like a novel, contemporary material is extensively used to bring out the 19th century penological penchant for capital punishment.
  • For most of the 20th century it was penological orthodoxy in the United States that juvenile offenders presented a special case and needed special courts, procedures, and treatment options.


Pronunciation: /piːˈnɒlədʒɪst/
Example sentences
  • Similarly, the study of punishment and the efficacy of the various sentencing options available to the courts is a matter for penologists to consider.
  • It might've come as a surprise to penologists that there are so many empty cells, since the overcrowding of Britain's prisons is legendary.
  • All the criminologist, penologist, and sociologist can get together and talk their theories and smack about recidivism and rehabilitation.


Mid 19th century: from Latin poena 'penalty' + -logy.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pen|ology

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